News and Press Releases

jury convicts columbia man of marijuana conspiracy

March 17, 2011

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a Columbia, Mo., man has been convicted by a federal jury of conspiracy to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana in Boone County, Mo.

            Eric Scott McCauley, 29, of Columbia, was found guilty on Wednesday, March 16, 2011, of 29 counts contained in an April 3, 2009, superseding indictment.

The original indictment in this case was filed in March 2007 in the wake of one of the largest seizures of marijuana in the history of the Columbia, Mo., Police Department. Evidence presented during the trial indicated that McCauley led a drug-trafficking conspiracy that was responsible for distributing more than 100 kilograms of marijuana in Boone County from 2005 to December 2008. During the investigation, law enforcement officers seized $224,663 cash attributable to/owned by McCauley.

In addition to the drug-trafficking conspiracy, McCauley was convicted of one count of distributing marijuana and two counts of possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute.

            McCauley was also found guilty of participating in a money-laundering conspiracy. McCauley was also convicted of 24 counts of money laundering related to transfers of funds derived from the drug-trafficking conspiracy or conducting financial transactions that were designed to conceal the location of drug-trafficking proceeds.

Co-defendants Robert Allen Hocks, 29, and Galen Cutter Baxley, 27, both of Columbia, have pleaded guilty to their roles in the drug-trafficking conspiracy. McCauley and his co-conspirators often traveled to Massachusetts and California to purchase high-grade marijuana, which they redistributed in Boone County.

When Columbia police officers executed a search warrant at a stash house at 4647 Brandon Woods, Columbia, on Feb. 7, 2007, they discovered more than 240 pounds of marijuana. The drug-trafficking conspiracy continued for more than a year afterward, during which time McCauley and Baxley moved to Kansas City, Mo. In December 2008, law enforcement officers discovered approximately 12 pounds of marijuana in the trunk of Baxley and McCauley’s vehicle, which was parked on the street in front of McCauley’s apartment building.

            Following the presentation of evidence, the jury in the U.S. District Court in Jefferson City, Mo.,  deliberated for about five hours hour before returning the guilty verdict to U.S. District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey, ending a trial that began Monday, March 14, 2011.

            Under federal statutes, McCauley is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of 45 years in federal prison without parole. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lauren Kummerer and Jim Lynn. It was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, IRS-Criminal Investigation and the Columbia, Mo., Police Department.

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